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Stopping rotavirus before it hits

A vaccine against diarrhea turns in star ratings in its first year

WASHINGTON — A vaccine against rotavirus has provided potent protection in its first year of widespread use.

Reporting October 25 at a meeting of microbiologists and infectious disease researchers, scientists offered up several studies demonstrating that the oral vaccine has brought about a sharp decline in rotavirus infections in the United States during 2007–2008.

Rotavirus kills roughly 500,000 people annually, most of them children in developing countries.

“This is a remarkable success,” says Jay Lieberman, leader of one study and the Cypress, Calif.-based medical director for infectious diseases at Quest Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory company.

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